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Contax Aria OR Contax G2


Well-Known Member
Just wondering what you guys think. Im wondering weather I should go for a G2 or a Contax Aria. I have read many good things about the camera. Anybody who has used both tell me what you think of both the bodies. I will be mostly using for street photography. I like the idea of a spot and matrix meter in the aria. Also the more versitile lens lineup is alluring, but the G2's titanium body is so SEXY! Also the lenses on the G2 are supposed to be better than the slr versions. Anyways help me out.



My last rangefinder experience was in the 1960's. A Minolta HiMatic 7s. Before that I had an Agfa that accepted interchangable lenses. Both great cameras. But once I got my hands on a Nikon Nikomat SLR life was different.

I've handled Leicas...very nice. But go back.. no way.



> Hi Colin,

I've used the G2 for two years - great camera, great lenses, especially the 21mm but only for AF-enthusiasts. There is no possibility of "really" manual focus because you can't see in the viewfinder wether it is sharp or not. The AF-system works quite good but for one who is used to focus manually it's a different world.

Second, there is no aperture automatic as with the Aria (with a very comfortable override function). The problem for me with the AF was that the system does not focus from point to point like a SLR system but always focus from infinity to the focus point. This costs a lot of energy and causes "some" noise, especially with the 90mm lens which very annoying to me.

Third, the viewfinder does not show 100%, especially in near distances the compensation system does not work correctly.

Aria on the other hand is a nearly perfect camera with none of these problems. Lightweight, with all automatic functions but also usable in manual mode, matrix metering and a bright and constant 90% viewfinder. Aria is ready for a wide range of Zeiss & Yashica lenses and with adapter even usable for older lenses from different brands. After having done some comparisons I wouldn't say that the G-lenses are the better ones. Only the 21mm is outstanding, in terms of optical quality and of size. 28mm G-lens has some vignetting. The others are at the same high level.

At the end of the story the G-system is more a point&shoot camera system whereas the Aria is the more versatile camera which you can use for both, point&shoot and advanced photography. Beside my N-System I'm very satisfied with my Aria and some nice lenses which I buy year by year and after having sold it once I would never sell it again.....

Hope that helps a bit !

Regards Andreas


Well-Known Member
> Colin- I use both rangefinders (Contax and Leica) as well as SLR cameras (Nikon) and I believe a key ingredient in your decision is... what kind of photography do you do?

If you do any sports or "fast action" photography the rangefinders really are not the choice to make. In addition if you need to use long telephotos they are also not the right tool for the job.

That said I frankly derive more pleasure out of my rangefinders for everything else. Great lenses, no mirror slap, a real "personal" feel to photography. Think long and hard about what you really need to shoot and enjoy your new camera, whichever you choose!

Kent >


Well-Known Member
I love my Aria and its lenses especially the fast 50mm f1.4 but I also love my G2. I had thought I should perhaps sell the G2 but whenever I pick it up and use it again I change my mind and say no way.
I really like manual focus best as it is so controllable but there again there are times when auto focus is best, like at the wedding disco I was at the other week (I used my T2) when people were moving so fast and the light was so poor that it would have been impossible (for me anyway) to focus manually especially with the narrow depth of field at f1.4. Similarly when I was taking grab shots in the falling snow in January and trying to capture people in the snow without getting my camera soaked. Quick shots were needed.
I guess it's horses for courses and that each camera, although very different, has its merits.



Firstly, I have to agree with Kent, what type of photgraphy do you do? If you have a wide variety of interests and believe you need an SLR and a Rangefinder, then I certainly would recommend the Aria as far as SLRs go. I've used many other systems - but the Aria is a real gem to handle and performs well, let alone the great quality of the lenses.

The G2 is a different beast altogether. If you like a lot of automation in your rangefinder, then the G2 is the best out there. However, if you prefer a more simple machine, you could try Leicas (very expensive), or the Voigtlander (my personal favourite - and cheaper than the G2).

If you have never tried a rangefinder, I suggest you pick up a cheap secondhand (about £40) Ricoh Rangefinder and give it a try. If you like that type of camera you can upgrade with no real loss.

If I had to choose one, it would be the Aria - because it is light and versatile (and for me the most gorgeous camera in the world!!)

Tell us how you get on!!

Good Luck, Saras


Well-Known Member
I used to have a G1 and I used it for travel. I used the 35mm and 90mm lenses. What about the metering on the G2 is it better than the g1? Im also wondering about the size of the aria vs the g2? I was thinking of buying the aria and a 45mm 2.8 pancake tessar for a super small system. How small does this outfit compare to the G2.
Thanks in advance


Well-Known Member
I should say that the Aria and G2 bodies are much the same size although the Aria might be a tiny touch lighter. I have no experience of the G1 but posts seem to indicate that the focusing is not as good as on the G2.
The Aria with the pancake lens will be a shallower outfit than the G2 with any of its lenses.
The metering on the Aria is much more sophisticated than that of the G2 which has only centre weighted. Having said that, I find that the G2 metering works well. The Aria has a wider range of lenses available for it.
It may boil down to whether or not you prefer a
purely manual focus camera or (and a rather unsophisticated autofocus by curent standards) purely autofocus one. In my experience the electronic manual focus on the G2 is not very often of much use.
I think that if you can, you would be best weighing up them both side by side at a Contax dealer.


Well-Known Member
No dealers aroud here (Tallahassee Florida). I have bought many cameras on ebay and tried them out. I actually just bought a Contax G2 28 45 and 90 + TLA 200 to make some cash on. If anyone is interested in it let me know. It has less than 20 rolls of film through it all boxes and manuals + lens hoods for all lenses and Contax Metal Caps. Everything is in mint condition.

I think im going to go for a used aria and a 45mm lens and if I dont like it ill buy a g2 outfit used on ebay.

Both seem like great cameras but being a poor college student I cant have more money in cameras than I do in my car :).


Well-Known Member
bought an aria and sold it. I preferred my trusty g1. The lenses are cheaper for the G cameras and seem to be sharper for the most part. Also, the g1 is smaller and lighter than the aria. I have had the G2 as well but the G1 got used more I dont need all the extra stuff the G2 has. As long as the G1 is a green lable im happy!